Monday, January 28, 2008

I Love Teaching

To be completely honest, I very much enjoy teaching, and the possibility of teaching smart college kids undergrad econ in the future is about 90% of my motivation to finish grad school (feeling like I'm DONE and the freedom to think about whatever the heck I want all day--the NFL draft-- make up the other 10%. Oh yeah, plus inertia and fear of getting a real job.)

I don't think I ever posted about how bad my student reviews were after teaching a semester at my undergrad school, but they were pretty bad. (Favorite phrase: "The most arrogant and heartless teacher I've had in my life.") I scored lower on every single question than the university average, the Econ average, and the Econ 110 average. I got over it (it has been a year and a half) but I just discovered a new source of ratings when I googled myself that made me sad all over again, especially because I'm just starting a new teaching (TA) job. Oh well. I'll just keep reminding myself that (a) there's a bias in the sample because only people with really strong opinions are likely to bother making comments, and (b) nobody's going to call the chair of the department and say "Wow, thanks, you hired a cool guy!" Only the complainers call and complain, the complimenters complimented me immediately after class and said they appreciated the Belle & Sebastian reference.

Oh, and if you follow that link, I have a rebuttal for all of the claims: I totally didn't swear in class more than once ("To hell with it.") Yes, I made a reference to Fast Times at Ridgemont High on the first day of class by telling them on the first day they could call me "Teacher Dude." (This part is mostly my fault as I came off deliberately curt the first day because I knew that my style would offend some people regardless of how civil I tried to be, so I hoped to maybe encourage some very sensitive students to take the class at another time. I probably overdid it and scared some of them half to death.) And if reading Karl Popper's definition of scientific from the book Conjectures and Refutations (something that's not falsifiable) and then mentioning in passing that religion, art, and music aren't scientific but don't necessarily need to be counts as "encouraging [them] to question [their] religion," well then, I'm guilty. ANYWAY, I guess the true test will be to see how my ratings turn out after this semester.


  1. but you're such a sweet, unassuming guy. clearly those students have you confused with someone else...

  2. You'll get better ratings for the mere fact you are at a different institution ...